Mental health evaluation ordered for Sequim man charged with 10 felonies

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man charged in early October with 10 felonies in connection with allegedly trying to run over four children in a church parking lot and assaulting sheriff’s deputies will undergo a mental health evaluation and return to court on Dec. 1.

John F. Barcellos, 59, of Sequim remains in the Clallam County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. He had been set for a four-day trial to begin Monday.

Barcellos was charged Sept. 20 with 10 felonies: four counts of harassment with threats to kill; three counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon; third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer; attempt to elude with a special allegation of endangerment, and harassment with threats against a criminal justice participant.

He faces five to 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 to $20,000 in fines for each felony.

According to court documents, Barcellos on Sept. 16 allegedly made threats with a hatchet and attempted to run over four children playing in the Sequim Seventh-day Adventist Church parking lot.

The children told a sheriff’s deputy that Barcellos’ vehicle came within inches of them while driving at high speeds, and they either hid on a stairwell or behind a light pole, the documents said.

On Wednesday, defense attorney John Hayden moved for a competency evaluation under RCW 10.77, which is the chapter for procedures for the criminally insane. The next hearing to review the evaluation was set for 9 a.m. Dec. 1 in Clallam County Superior Court.

In his motion, Hayden wrote, “On at least two occasions he has signed documents with the words ‘Help Me’ rather than his name.”

Barcellos may have been evaluated for mental health issues in the past, but he has no record of that, Hayden wrote.

“During preparation for this case, defendant has seemingly been unable to discuss historical fact due to his fixation on a belief that the incidents in this case have some relationship to a prior event.

“He exhibits an inability to discuss historical fact in a rational manner, which has made a factual analysis of his case impossible,” Hayden wrote.

“Counsel is unable to assist Mr. Barcellos without an understanding of his connection with reality and without the ability to discuss historical fact in a rational manner.”

The motion also said: “Mr. Barcellos’ fixation with his belief that this incident is somehow related to a prior event in his life has greatly interfered with counsel’s ability to prepare this matter, and an evaluation of his competence is warranted here.”

The evaluation will be conducted in the Clallam County jail by a Department of Social and Health Services evaluator who is a qualified expert and approved by the prosecuting attorney, court documents said.


Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@

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